Jesus Is The Light Of The World

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John 8:12 – 20

12 Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.” 13 The Pharisees objected, “You are the only one speaking for yourself, and what you say isn’t true!”

14 Jesus replied: Even if I do speak for myself, what I say is true! I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don’t know where I am from or where I am going. 15 You judge in the same way that everyone else does, but I don’t judge anyone. 16 If I did judge, I would judge fairly, because I would not be doing it alone. The Father who sent me is here with me. 17 Your Law requires two witnesses to prove that something is true. 18 I am one of my witnesses, and the Father who sent me is the other one.

19 “Where is your Father?” they asked. “You don’t know me or my Father!” Jesus answered. “If you knew me, you would know my Father.” 20 Jesus said this while he was still teaching in the place where the temple treasures were stored. But no one arrested him, because his time had not yet come.

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Our passage above starts with “Once again Jesus spoke to the people…”  The event of bringing the woman caught in adultery (7:53 – 8:11) was a sidebar to the larger story which began in chapter 7 with Jesus standing up at the Feast of Tabernacles to teach the people.  We now return to some powerful teachings of Jesus while He was in Jerusalem.

From this point on, we will often come across topics and themes that have come up before within the Gospel of John.  It will not be difficult to see these major threads of divine truth that are woven through the book.  The bold statement of Jesus, “I am the light of the world” and that those who follow Him will “never walk in darkness” takes us all the way back to 1:4–5:

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

According to John, light equals life and darkness equals all that is sinful and evil.  The Pharisees who were listening heard this and immediately challenged Jesus.  They cannot accept Him as the ultimate source of light and life.  When they say this cannot be true and that Jesus is [wrongfully] speaking for Himself, they are actually challenging His authority to be able to make such a claim.

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In verses 14–18, Jesus goes on to give four reasons as to why He had every right to claim that He was the true source of Life for all mankind.  First of all, He knows with absolute certainty what His true origin is and what His ultimate destiny is.  Looking ahead to 16:28, Jesus said, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”  As God’s Son, Jesus had a divine origin and later returned back to His divine realm united with God the Father.

Secondly, Jesus’ standards for His moral life and His teachings have always been far above human standards.  In verse 15, Jesus basically says that we all will make subjective and flawed judgments when evaluating others and spiritual truth.  In the Greek, He literally says, “you judge according to the flesh.”  And the Bible is quite clear that the human flesh is flawed by being worldly and sinful.  But Jesus was never flawed in this way, and so He could speak about Himself with such divine authority.

Jesus goes on though to say that even if He were to condemn another, just like the Pharisees were trying to do to Him, Jesus is able to do it in a fair and just manner for He has God the Father on His side helping Him to speak and to do all that He came to do.  Even though Jesus left the realm of Heaven, the Father never left His side, and so as a fourth proof of His divine authority, Jesus stated as required by Jewish Law, that two witnesses (His own and that of God’s) qualified Jesus to be One who spoke the truth, that is, that He is the source of eternal life which becomes the Light for all mankind.

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Wow!!  This is powerful stuff!  Unfortunately for the Pharisees, they had never really developed a personal relationship with God.  So when they challenged Jesus with regards to His paternity (“Where is your father?”) they thought they might trap Jesus to admit to the popular scandal that He was born illegitimately by Joseph out of wedlock, but they in fact indict themselves that they know very little about who Jesus really is and who His real Father is, that is, God the Father.

The Pharisees were spiritually blind with regards to Jesus’ true identity and authority.  Jesus is the Light of the world.  He is the source of true spiritual Life.  At some point, every person will have to make a decision as to who Jesus is.  Human sinfulness continues to keep people blind to this spiritual truth.  But it does not have to remain this way.

My friend, have you come into the light of Truth and discovered Jesus’ true identity?  I’m glad you are reading this article.  But even better would be if you would open the Gospel accounts of the New Testament and read for yourself to find out who Jesus is.  He is calling even now, “Come to Me, and come into the Light of Life.”

* If this article has been helpful to you and a blessing, please invite your friends to come visit this devotional blog site.

Becoming Children of God

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John 1:9 – 13

Jesus: The Life-Giving Light of the World

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Light!  What a wonderful thing light is.  What would we ever do if there was no light for us to see where we are and what was around us.  We probably don’t give it much thought at all since for most of us, if we wake up in the dark or enter a dark room, we simply reach out and turn on a switch.  And then, “Presto!” we have light.  We go from being in the dark to being in the light so quickly that we don’t even give it a second thought.

There are of course some people who are born blind or become blind later in life.  No doubt their lives are difficult, but there are others around who can help them with what they need.  And so they adjust to being blind.  They find ways to live their lives and they accept their handicap.  Even so, I would guess that part of them still yearns for the possibility that perhaps there may be a cure one day and they might be able to see the world around them.

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So whether we have sight and rely on artificial means to have light at night, or we are blind and need special apparatus or others to assist us in life, we all depend on something else to help us out.  But what if we had nothing at all to help us?  What if we were in absolute total darkness, like the Egyptians were when God sent a plague of darkness upon them that was so bad, no one dared move about or leave their homes for three days?  Notice how God describes the plague that He sent:

“Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”       (Exodus 10:21)

It’s hard to imagine darkness that is so complete that it seems like you can actually feel it pressing in on you and smothering the life out of you.  Only once in the five years that I spent in the jungles of Papua New Guinea did I feel this kind of sensation.  I had been at a special celebration at one village which was more than a two-hour walk from our village.  The event went longer than I had anticipated, and by the time I had walked halfway home, it was pitch black on a moonless and cloudy night.

As I stumbled along behind my guide, I was so thankful that I had brought my flashlight.  Now bulbs and batteries are pretty weak and low-grade in PNG, but I trusted that dim, flickering cone of light, no bigger than a softball, to keep me safe and to help get me home.  Until it died!  And that is when I felt the crushing weight of absolute darkness.

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I’m sure I would have totally panicked if my guide had not been with me.  Don’t ask me how he saw in the darkness, but one footstep at a time, he led me along the trail, down through a running creek, up the other embankment, through the old deserted village area and around the edge of the swampy area.  And then I saw it.  As we broke through into the open, there was my house about 500 yards away, blazing brightly with its battery operated fluorescent lights.  I was safe from that horrible darkness.

That is a picture of what John 1:9 is trying to tell us.  All of mankind was lost in the darkness of their sinful ways, hoping to find their way to God by means of their own feeble efforts, just like me using that mostly dead flashlight.  And then the Light of God broke through into History as Jesus entered into our world.  He who was the very Creator, was now going to live among those whom He had created.  He is the true light which shines and offers the hope of life and salvation.

The sad thing is, the Jewish people lived in the certain expectation that God would one day send a Saviour to rescue them, but when He came, they did not recognize Him for who He really was.  As we will see later on in John 8:12, Jesus says this about Himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

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But not all people remain spiritually blind.  God continues to move and work in people’s lives so that they will see the truth, that this man Jesus was much more than just a man.  He has come from God, and as we saw in verses 1 and 2, He is in fact God.  As such, He is the true source of life, spiritual life, eternal life.  He wants to draw us into Himself, just like the lights on my house drew me in from the darkness.

When we accept Him and believe He is God’s Son who has come to give us life, then we get adopted into God’s family.  God, who created us, now relates to us as He has always wanted to, as our Heavenly Father.  And that makes Jesus our Brother.  We all together become God’s Family.  How cool is that!